Dr. Chris Roberts Hosts First Office of Research in Media Integrity Event

Mar 27, 2023

The Office of Research in Media Integrity (ORMI) in the College of Communication and Information Sciences (C&IS) hosted its debut event earlier this year.

Dr. Chris Roberts, associate professor in journalism and creative media, is director of ORMI and invited three experts in media ethics to join him for a discussion titled “My, how your growing! How young adults mature morally, from college to their media work lives.”

The speakers were Dr. David Craig, a presidential professor in the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma; Dr. Katie Place, a professor in the School of Communications at Quinnipiac University and senior research fellow at The Arthur W. Page Center for integrity in public communication; and Dr. Patrick Plaisance, editor of the Journal of Media Ethics and the Don W. Davis professor in Ethics at the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State.

The professors are part of a long-running research project following the moral development of 100-plus students who graduated nationwide with media-focused degrees in 2018 and 2019.

Their work centers around theories of emerging adulthood, a distinct phase of life where young adults begin making long-term commitments in relationships and their occupation. Scholars argue that emerging adulthood is a relatively new phenomenon as young adults are often waiting longer than people in previous generations to marry and make long-term job commitments.

Through administering multiple personality tests and interviewing each graduate four times since 2018, the professors have gained much insight into the characteristics that recent graduates value most during their moral development.

“The findings are fascinating and instructive for our students as they begin to consider their post-college lives,” Roberts said. “For example, ‘love of learning’ was the key character strength our participants listed just after finishing college. By year three, ‘kindness’ topped the list.”

ORMI welcomed faculty, staff, students and community members to join their debut event. Later that week, they spoke to C&IS graduate students and faculty at the Institute for Communication and Information Research’s “Broader Impacts” event.

The Office of Research in Media Integrity seeks to be the home for systematic, innovative and important research into media integrity and ethics. It reaches across media platforms, academic disciplines, methodologies and ideologies to create a new understanding of media integrity and communicate it effectively across academic and public platforms. The office was formed in anticipation of the Janet Hall O’Neil and Frank O’Neil endowed faculty position in journalistic integrity.

For more information about ORMI, visit ormi.ua.edu.